Wednesday, May 18, 2022

Zahid sues Muhyiddin over court intervention claims

He is suing the former prime minister for defamation, demanding among others a public apology.

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Former deputy prime minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi has filed a defamation suit against former prime minister Muhyiddin Yassin over the allegation that he had sought the latter’s help to settle or postpone his court cases.

Zahid, 69, as the plaintiff, filed the suit through Messrs Shahrul Hamidi & Haziq at the Kuala Lumpur High Court on April 4, naming Muhyiddin, 74, as the sole defendant.

According to his statement of claim, Zahid said that on Oct 19, 2018, he was charged at the Kuala Lumpur Sessions Court with 12 counts of breach of trust, eight counts of corruption, and 27 counts of money laundering, all of which were tried in the High Court.

He claimed that Muhyiddin had, while on the campaign trail for the 15th Johor state election in Mersing on Feb 13, made a defamatory statement with ill intention against him.

“On the same day, the video footage of the defamatory statement was published on Astro Awani’s YouTube channel managed by Astro Awani. The video, which lasted two hours 35 minutes and eight seconds (2:35:08), can be accessed on the internet,” he said.

Zahid claimed that until the date of the writ of summons and the statement of claim was filed, the video had recorded 29,752 views via the Astro Awani YouTube channel which has 1.44 million subscribers, and that it was widely shared on other social media platforms such as KiniTV and the Perikatan Nasional Facebook page, as well as the Malaysiakini and Utusan Malaysia portals on Feb 16 and 17.

The Bagan Datuk MP claimed Muhyiddin’s statement implied that he had used a shortcut to settle and postpone his ongoing court cases, and that he had asked for Muhyiddin’s help to intervene in the court cases and the judiciary system to order the dissolution of the Johor state assembly. He said it also implied that he was not a respectable and exemplary leader.

Zahid claimed that the allegations were false and aimed at tarnishing his name and reputation, and that they were made by the defendant after the Election Commission’s announcement on the Johor state election.

“As such, it is clear that the statement was made with ill intention to influence and tarnish the reputation of the plaintiff as the top leader of Barisan Nasional, and indirectly give a bad image to the coalition contesting in the Johor state election,” he said.

He is seeking general, aggravated and exemplary damages, as well as an order for Muhyiddin to publish a public apology in the news, and other reliefs and costs deemed fit by the court.

Zahid also filed a notice of ex-parte application for the defendant or his representative to withdraw the defamatory statement or similar defamatory statements against him.

He also applied for an interim injunction order to restrain the defendant, his officers and assistants as well as his agents and representatives from issuing, publishing, distributing or disseminating such statements on any social media platform including Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and WhatsApp.

He also applied for an interim injunction order for the defendant to delete, edit and stop the publication of the part of the video footage which contained the defamatory statement in online news portals and social media including the Perikatan Nasional Facebook page, Astro Awani’s YouTube channel and KiniTV.

The ex-parte application will be heard before judge Rozana Ali Yusoff.

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